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Title: On rationality, power and passion : a story about a project to improve co-ordination of services for people with HIV/AIDS in Lothian
Author: Huby, Guro
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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The thesis presents an ethnography of an action-research project carried out between 1992 and 1995 to evaluate co-ordination of health and social services for people with HTV/AIDS in Lothian. The study entailed detailed investigations of interactions and contacts between a small number of people with HIV and the professionals who were involved in their care. Interactions and communication among these professionals around the care of individuals as clients and patients were also studied in the context of specific service settings. The ethnography draws on literary and social science theory on narratives and narrative exchange. A large part of the material collected consists of information passed around for the purpose of service co-ordination, in the course of which people, behaviour and events were evaluated and plotted as stories or narratives addressing dilemmas and ambiguities of service provision. These ambiguities revolved around a central notion of 'control' to which were juxtaposed opposites such as 'manipulation' 'fraud', 'chaos'. Stories were plotted differently according to the narrator's position in the system of services, and they were passionately contested: one person's 'control' is another's 'manipulation'. The ethnography locates the narrative exchange within dynamics of power and authority which differed between settings studied. The social consequence of these dynamics is discussed in a) the way some issues prioritised by service users, e.g. welfare rights, were hidden in service provider discourse and b) in the stereotyping of service users such as 'the chaotic manipulative' drug user and the 'organised gay man'. The research process became entangled in these dynamics and the ethnography proceeds as a 'story' of the project, the ethnographer's evolving interactions with people, the material produced by research encounters and interpretations of them. The story-line follows (roughly) a sequence of events as they occurred in the time of the project. It carries an argument about rationality and power progressed through critiques of Habermas and Foucault.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available